November Disaster Looms for Democrats as Joe Biden’s Numbers Plunge
Author: Greg Valliere
April 19, 2022
THE MOOD ON CAPITOL HILL among Democrats is so sour that the issue isn’t whether the Democrats will lose the House — it’s the size of the margin. We thought most of this past winter that the Democrats would lose about 15 seats, but that’s too low. Consensus is about 25 seats and rising.
SINCE THE GOP NEEDS TO WIN roughly five net seats to capture the House, a takeover now looks very likely; just redistricting and historical trends alone would point to far more seats for the Republicans. In the Senate, tied 50-50, Republicans have a slight lead but Mitch McConnell worries that the party has not recruited great candidates (see: Herschel Walker in Georgia).
AT THE CORE OF THIS NARRATIVE is the astonishing plunge in Biden’s job approval rating, now down to 33% positive in the latest Quinnipiac poll and in the high-30s in several other surveys. Particularly worrisome for Democrats is a sharp drop in Biden’s job rating among Hispanics and young people; both are under 50% and falling.
INFLATION OBVIOUSLY IS THE MAJOR REASON for Biden’s plunge, with approval of his handling of the economy in the mid-30s. He also has slumped badly on his handling of illegal immigration and urban crime, two issues that have gotten worse for the Democrats in recent days.
THE THREAT OF A HUGE SURGE OF IMMIGRATION is so politically toxic that about a dozen Democratic Senators have distanced themselves from Biden on the explosive issue of lifting Title 42 restrictions, which would make illegal immigration far easier.
IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR THE DEMOCRATS? There’s a chance that Republicans could over-play their hand on abortion and other social issues; there’s fatigue over re-litigating the 2020 presidential election, which Donald Trump clearly lost; and there’s an unwillingness of GOP leaders to detail what they would do if they take control of the House.
BUT IT WOULD TAKE A SHARP DROP of inflation — seemingly not imminent — to boost Biden’s numbers. The inflation medicine essentially is higher interest rates — but as the 10-year bond yield approaches 3%, anxiety over housing will increase, hardly a plus for Biden.
EVEN ON UKRAINE, where Biden gets decent grades, there’s the beginning of discontent that he should spend more time on domestic issues.
THE BIDEN SPRING AGENDA: He plans to revive proposals such as prescription drug price controls, funding for pre-kindergarten education and spending on environmental upgrades. Sen. Elizabeth Warren doubled down on these proposals in a New York Times op-ed this morning, but our sense is that there’s little support for more spending.
IF DEMOCRATS LOSE JUST ONE OF THE TWO HOUSES, Biden’s agenda would be dead in the last two years of his term. He would have veto power, but virtually no new initiatives could pass in a bitterly partisan House, where at least a third of Republicans want to impeach him for any number of reasons.
BOTTOM LINE: House election results on Nov. 8 are likely to repudiate Biden, who will become a scapegoat for Democrats in this city. Despite Biden’s assertions that he will run again, the whispering will grow louder that he will be a one-term president, as his 80th birthday approaches on Nov. 20, just two weeks after what probably will be an election disaster for the Democrats.
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